“Who called me a liar?” Asked Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit during a zoom video call with 300 Dominican students studying abroad. Students lashed out at PM Skerrit to what they claim is unacceptable treatment from the government failing to deliver their side of their scholarship contact. They also said that they were in beliefs that the prime minister Skerrit would come and discuss their issues instead of talking about ladies no longer take selfies because salons are closed! A zoom video call that was expected to end with solutions, ended with someone cursing the prime minster just before he end his video zoom meeting. Many students have reached out to Fabie Jay and here’s what students had to say about what happened lastnight, and the long frustration they’re under.
“Last night there was a message sent out, asking students to come in unto Zoom at 8pm to meet and discuss how they feel etc. There were 300 people on the call, from what I saw some were students who were still in the forgiven territories and some were people who had left after the pandemic and in Dominica right now and some I guess either had family or graduated already and just wanted to be there but either way there were 300 people on the call.
It started off late after 8 or so. PM came he spoke he said hello and everyone responded and then after a few minutes the common sense settle in and the 300 people muted their microphones and let him speak. Now, personally I found it very very irritating highly irritating that he took the time to discuss what how Dominica is doing and went from how much he spending per person in quarantine to how much he spending for supplies and how he’s trying to reopen the salons and how the people stop posting selfies etc.
I assumed the call was to hear our concerns right now and how hard we have it right now or at least discuss with us like okay guys you far away so if your family cannot support you right now I know some campuses are shut down how are you coping that want the case it felt like he took his daily press conference and summarise for us ra
After he finish speak. He said we have the chance to as questions and give feedback the first person spoke said good evening Mr prime minister I just want to bring to your attention that I’m stuck on campus right now and my school is not happy about the fact that so far none of my housing fees have been paid and I have letters from the government stating that they are responsible for the housing fees. He said ‘okay I will take your name and look into that’,m. And so it kept going on. EVERY single student who spoke was expressing how their school is disappointed how their school is stressing them and how their school is finding it hard to keep giving them chances.
Personally for me. I have been at school here for couple years now and I have my letter of commitment however the government has yet to pay a cent. I have a contract stating the GPA I required to keep the exact amount they responsible for and everything but they yet to pay anything and every time I reach out they give me the run around we will we will next month and my school at one point recently asked me if i sure the letter is real because they cannot keep accommodating me and nothing is happening
My family is working hard to help me, I am trying my best to cope. We are trying to handle it as best as we can but if there was an agreed upon fee and an agreement reached its obvious it going to be stressful to make up for the budget that they not covering
The schools are frustrated with the way the government handling this whole assistance and scholarship situation and they have been reaching out to the government about it and when the government does not give a good enough response or pay, they then come to us the students and its frustrating being here working hard doing your best to make something out of yourself and then at the end you have to deal with all of this
Most of the students on the call last night kept saying the same things over and over, ‘Mr Skerrit my fees, Mr Skerrit my fees it’s been a year, its been 2 semesters, it’s been how long’ and all he kept saying is ‘I take your name I will look into it’.
Another student said “We gave him advice on how he could make the system better rather than have us constantly reapply when we leave to study. Put a system in place where if we already got assistance and need to reapply we just automatically get a new letter for the coming school year ONLY IF WE HAVE THE REQUIRED GPA AND MEET THE REQUIREMENTS that way instead of us sending in letters and letters getting lost or ministry of education and the PS taking 12 years to respond, it goes faster and we have less to stress on”, He said that is not he way it work. He said just send in your letters that’s how it works that’s the system and the student responded and said, ‘okay sir’.
We gave another suggestion to him about how the ministry is incompetent because we send in our letters and we work hard but then they take like months upon months to respond, he said. ‘I wouldn’t say incompetent, its a hard word’
The student cursing him when he said goodbye was uncalled for but we are fed up. There was also another individual I’m not sure if they were a student who randomly drop in told him he’s a liar and he need to stop lying then they left the meeting.
And then the prime minster sat there and asked who called him a liar and everyone was confused because the person did it then left the call.
He listened to everybody talk then after he told us we on his case when really it’s not him is the schools are charging too much money and we should come together at Midwestern State University (and the other schools) go to the deans and presidents and tell them it’s too much money because we the Caribbean students and international body make them a school. He tell us to tell Grambling etc, they wouldn’t’ be MSU and Grambling without us and they charging us too much.
Someone said I think that is a position you should take because your the prime minister. I mean correct me if I’m wrong but it‘s common sense if a country fail to meet tuition and fail on paying for students and they decide to say you charging me too much money the school is going to look at the student and say listen you owe me the money and nothing has been paid, we cannot have that discussion when nothing is being paid And nearly each school had students complaining about how their school is frustrated with how the government is handling the cases
There was this one student who got frustrated after a while and he told the PM that he is over it and he cannot understand how they kept doing this because if you send us to study you gave us letters and contracts that puts you under an obligation to hold up your end of the deal and pay, our family responsible to do their end but you guys gave us letters and promises
Don’t get me wrong nobody cannot put a gun to his head an tell him pay the fee but the way I see it, you sent me to a country to represent you and me and many other students I know have been on the honor list with GPA’s from 3.6 and up…….a contract means you do what you say your going to do. Common knowledge it means if you say you provide X you deliver X you don’t deliver Z and then get high and mighty when I don’t appreciate Z
The student spoke and now everyone is out there making it sound like he ungrateful or he lacking sense. People spoke how they choose to speak and now everyone making it an argument about who yanking and lacking sense and who this and that
That whole meeting was a mess and quite honestly while it was a complete mess I’m happy it happened because I got to see how much I’m not alone and how badly this government is doing when it comes to its students in other countries. Meeting was suppose to start at 8pm they started a few mins late then it ended at after 10 minutes to 11.
And I felt like trump was talking to us because all he kept saying was how well he doing for Dominica, how he want to open his in Dominica, how no other country in the Caribbean care about their students enough to be on a zoom call on a Saturday night listening. How he can make his own rum punch (idk what the sense in that was)
Now today, people families calling and saying they heard how he said he going to send out money to the students next week to help us etc. But the joke is. He never once mention any of that, never took the time to see or ask if our bank information up to date, never ask where we staying, never ask how we eating, never ask if we have a bed to sleep on since most campuses closed off. Kept going on about how he spending $500 per person quarantine per day and how he have this to handle and that to pay
It was a complete and utter show of politics in my opinion
Later when he realize most of us didn’t come to clap and tell him good job, he said listen, ‘I didn’t expect this I came here thinking that we would discuss problems or issues that we could solve soon like tomorrow or something this is not what I had in mind’
I feel like the people who stayed on the live and didn’t complain are the people who have an in with the government and can have their situations fixed, people who benefits from their silence because our family are laboratories and the people on FB who are bashing the students for being upset and complaining are people who applied and didn’t get a yes, people who graduated already or people who just want to be involved for the sake of it. Because yes, FEW students overstep and curse him etc. But overall the students including myself are fed up and frustrated and annoyed and we don’t get to speak to the prime minster directly at all. We never ever get heard at all. The one night we found the chance we choose to speak and let him know we not okay with how they handling things
I know people who on their last semester of school for their degree and their fees unpaid and their family TRYING to cover the gap the government leave open. They legally cannot work up here they have to try finding jobs under the table hoping the place they working have an islander that have a heart to their situation
I know people who have a 4.0 and working extra hard every single semester to make their family proud and every semester they in the financial office taking heat because Dominica running around with the money and not paying the fees or they sending up the fee and forgetting something students names and checks
We are fed up and frustrated. There was no need to curse him or anything BUT let’s be honest can you blame the students. I won’t curse him but others will.
Another student said;
“When you stay up here and send in documents and call for feedback ministry avoiding your calls on purpose and if the school call they taking the call. PS taking months to reply or telling you they never get letter send it again. Send family to check on your documents they telling your family they haven’t process the paper yet or the paper inside but it gonna be a while or the paper was received but they unsure if it will be approved”
Another student said;
”We have contracts that state we have to keep a GPA above 3.0 when we have Gov assistance. You kept above a 3.0 send in your documents early before the school year ends transcripts certificates etc. Send it all in….get no response then today Dominicans making it sound like we up here wasting time and sitting expecting a government to throw money away
But the minute any of us graduate they are the same people that going to want to repost and share and comment saying that’s my people congratulations, 767 emo come see this calling everybody to write articles but today they sitting and saying we up here wasting money and being ungrateful”
Another student said;
“I worked hard and working hard, I’m an honored student, I’m doing what I came here to do I am not trying to waste nobody time or money. My family my friends I complain to them daily about how stressful this is. I applied for something it was approved I was told to hold up my end of the contract and the other end would be held up, I did. But then I was left hanging.
Students studying for over a year now and no payments then you watching people children and tell them go behind the heads of the schools tell them they charging too much money? Ohh tell them they wouldn’t be a school without us.
You watching us and tell us you didn’t expect such from us, you expected things that could be handled tomorrow like we’re a set of tebeh that just gonna sit listen to your lies and say yes you doing a good job back home. That’s nice and not take the opportunity to tell you what you doing is wrong
Dominican people lack the ability to see things from the perspective of the people in the heat unless it’s people in America and they can gang up on Trump If Skerrit do wrong, they will adhere and cooperate and take the wrong no matter who or what it affects. Which is bad
Another student said,
‘Before I left to study, I worked, I saved, I spoke to them. I made sure I understand where I stand what my responsibilities are when I leave Dominica and what theirs are. Right now they are not holding to their responsibilities. The government is straining and the prime keeps lying and lying for the students. He lies so much that he always say something differently about the same situation. Finally, we couldn’t take it again lastnight. Someone called him a liar and just before he left they cursed him. I am not in support of the disrespect just like other students didn’t, but the prime minster starts the disrespect hence the reason he has to be disrespected. No one would have to disrespect him if he was honest and straight with the students”
The following are some of the Universities that were present on the Zoom Video call with the prime minister.
The schools present:
-Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls Texas
-Monroe College New York and St.Lucia
-Grambling State University Louisiana
-Texas A&M Commerce Dallas Texas
-York University Canada
-Mona Campus Jamaica I think
-Students in China
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